Marijuana Abuse

Long-term side effects from marijuana abuse is a subject which has been debated for many years now. Users of this drug say that it is not harmful and is not addictive, while opposers of legalizing it say that it is harmful and that it is a gateway drug leading to the use of stronger, more dangerous drugs. This debate will probably go on for many more years. Rather than being physically addictive, marijuana has more potential for psychological addiction. People enjoy the feelings and effects of marijuana, although when abstaining from this drug, they do not experience painful physical withdrawal symptoms.

What is Marijuana and How is it Used?

Marijuana, also called cannabis, comes from the hemp plant, Cannabis Sativa. It is the dried flowers, leaves, stems, and seeds from this plant. The mind-altering chemical in this plant is called THC which is short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Marijuana is an illicit drug and is the most commonly used one in the United States. However, there are 24 states, counting Washington, D. C. which have legalized marijuana in one form or another, some for medicinal purposes and others for recreational use.

People smoke it in joints (hand-rolled cigarettes) or pipes. They also smoke it with bongs (water pipes) or blunts which are cigars that have been emptied of the tobacco and refilled with marijuana. It is becoming more common today for people to use vaporizers for smoking this drug. Individuals inhale the vapor instead of the smoke with this method. Abusers add pot to food; many people make brownies, candies, or cookies with marijuana in them. They also brew it as a tea.

Side Effects of Marijuana Abuse

Everyone knows that smoking pot, just like smoking cigarettes, is harmful to the lungs. When a person smokes this drug, the results are pretty much immediate. The user may have an increased heart rate along with poor concentration, lessened balance and coordination, and an increased appetite which users call “the munchies.” They also have an altered perception of time. A couple of hours can feel like much longer. Instead of a state of relaxation and euphoria, some individuals experience paranoia and anxiety. A lack of saliva producing a very dry mouth (“cotton mouth“) is another short-term side effect which may be a reason that so many people drink alcohol along with smoking pot or weed (slang words for marijuana or cannabis). The increased heart rate can last for up to three hours which puts the user at an increased risk of heart attack. Many pot smokers experience long-term respiratory effects such as bronchitis, wheezing, and a chronic cough. They also experience many other pulmonary diseases from long-term abuse of this drug. Long-term marijuana abuse can lead to problems with memory and learning capabilities. Many people who have smoked marijuana regularly for years, state that they have problems remembering words and following their train of thought when having discussions with others.

Is Marijuana Harmful and Addictive?

The debate has been going on for years, and more than likely will continue for years to come. It is many people’s opinion that pot is neither harmful or addictive. Others believe that it is addictive and is a gateway drug leading to the abuse of much stronger and more dangerous drugs. Some people have smoked pot for years without ever moving on to other drugs of abuse while others have ventured on and tried and became addicted to stronger substances.

Individuals can experience some withdrawal symptoms when abstaining from smoking pot such as irritability, insomnia, and loss of appetite. Whether these are physical or psychological symptoms, a treatment program would help you overcome your marijuana abuse.

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